Many companies are not hiring to engage the minds and hearts of their workers but merely their hands and feet. I don’t need to emphasize how unhelpful this practice is.
As a business manager or leader, ask yourself, do you let your people assume more responsibility when they are able? Do you know when that is, or do you keep telling yourself that they aren’t ready yet?
To empower employees is to place reward and consequential decision-making authority in their hands.
Empowering employees has a number of benefits for a business.
1. It improves the customer experience.
The individual employee is not a drone, mindlessly acting as a machine. An empowered employee can make small decisions that end up increasing repeat business and developing loyal customers.
2. Makes employees feel like a part of the business.
This is subjective, but if you can find a business where employees can act or have authority, you can tell that they are more committed.
3. Enhances job satisfaction.
It’s frustrating to an employee to know what’s right but feel powerless to do anything about it. Giving the employee some decision-making ability will decrease frustration and improve retention.
4. It also improves productivity and employee disposition to work
Please note that it isn’t possible for a leader to “empower” someone to be accountable and make good decisions. People have to empower themselves. Your role is to encourage and support the decision-making environment and to give employees the tools and knowledge they need to make and act upon their own decisions. By doing this, you help your employees reach an empowered state.
Part of building an empowering environment involves the leader making sure people are safe doing their jobs. To make sure this happens, an ongoing discussion of the needs, opportunities, tasks, obstacles, projects, what is working and what is not working is absolutely critical to the development and maintenance of a “safe” working environment. You are likely to spend a lot of time in dialogue with other leaders, employees, team members, and peers.
Below are a few things leaders can do to build an environment that empowers people:
1. Believe in your employees.
The best managers get outstanding performance from ordinary human beings. If you wait for a team of superstars, you will be waiting forever. Discover what each person does best. Find better ways for people to support each other. Bring people together to support and encourage each other. Then believe 100% in these partnerships and collaborations
2. Forgive mistakes
If your team isn't making mistakes, then you aren't reaching high enough. But if you punish mistakes, you will encourage the overly-conservative behavior. Establish clear differences between acceptable mistakes versus mission-critical offenses. Example: It is OK to test a new advertising method and discover it does not work; it is never OK to engage in false or deceptive advertising.
3. Don’t hover.
To truly enable employees, employers need to be willing to take a step back. Some employees may find it easier to step up if they don’t feel like their every move is being monitored, not to mention evaluated. Monitoring an employee’s every move can have the opposite of the intended effect by impeding their ability to grow as professionals.
Sometimes the easiest way to empower employees is to give up control. Not only does this put more power in employees’ hands, but it also builds a greater sense of trust between employers and their employees.
4. Don’t second-guess others’ decisions and ideas unless it’s absolutely necessary.
This only undermines their confidence and keeps them from sharing future ideas with you.
5. Praise effort. Don't focus on talent; focus on effort. Over the long run,
Don't focus on talent; focus on effort. Over the long run, effort is far more important than talent. Also, by praising effort you will encourage people to learn and grow, rather than to simply stay focused on the one or two things that come easy to them.
6. Give power to those who have demonstrated the capacity to handle the responsibility.
7. Give people discretion and autonomy over their tasks and resources.
8. Create a favorable environment in which people are encouraged to grow their skills.
Most employees (future leaders) see the value in finding empowerment and are willing to take on the responsibilities that come with it. If future leaders have the wisdom to learn from the experience of present leaders, and if present leaders have the wisdom to build an environment that empowers people, both will share in the benefits.
FROM THE CRANIUM:
We, at craniumone would like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who took time out from their busy TGIF schedules to attend the FEMTECH fireside chat.
It was a huge success and we couldn't thank you all enough.
Be rest assured that we would continue to host more educational and life changing events.
Have an awesome week.